Alabama Football: Defensive players to watch closely in A-Day game

Kendrick Blackshire - Gary Cosby-USA TODAY Sports
Kendrick Blackshire - Gary Cosby-USA TODAY Sports /

As we discussed yesterday in a review of offensive players to watch during A-Day, the spring game is scaled back in many ways. Similar to the limited use of the Alabama football, offensive playbook, the defenses will be restricted in blitz packages. There will be sacks but as a result of the quarterbacks being taken down by touches, rather than tackles.

Much of the 2022 Alabama Crimson Tide defense is settled in terms of starters. There is still competition at cornerback and Will linebacker and defensive end. Beyond those position battles, A-Day will provide a chance to learn the best options to rotate in the defensive line, while also providing clues to new starters on the 2023 team.

Considerable attention on Saturday will be on whether Jaylen Moody or Deontae Lawson will become the 2022 starter at Will linebacker.

Most of the players listed below are vying for rotation or future starter roles.

  • Devonta Smith – The sophomore saw action in special teams play last season. This spring he has quietly settled in as a key backup at safety. He may be on track to step in for Jordan Battle or DeMarcco Hellams next fall.
  • Kristian Story – Story has been drawing considerable notice for solid play this spring. The gifted athlete has the ability to become an impact player for the Crimson Tide in a safety role.
  • Terrion Arnold – Arnold is, like Story, one of the Crimson Tide’s most athletic players and the redshirt freshman has a good chance to be a starting corner next fall.
  • Freshman Jihaad Campbell and sophomore, Kendrick Blackshire could become the Crimson Tide’s starting inside linebackers next season. Blackshire has already made a reputation as a ferocious tackler. Campbell has the skills to play inside or outside. His abilities can allow him to be successful in defending rushing and passing plays, as well as pressuring opposing quarterbacks. A key for next season is one of these guys or Deontae Lawson taking on the defensive play-caller job.
  • Another pair of Alabama football defenders to watch is Monkell Goodwine and Damon Payne. One or both of these redshirt freshmen can feature in the Crimson Tide’s defensive end rotation. Payne was one of the highest-rated recruits in the 2021 class and has the size to move inside when needed. Both players are expected to be key components of the Tide’s 2023 defense.
  • One more player will draw the attention of Crimson Tide fans. The now slimmed-down freshman, defensive lineman, Jaheim Oatis has been getting solid reviews for his spring work. His role will likely be limited in 2022, but Oatis has the potential to become an outstanding player in subsequent seasons.

dark. Next. Post A-Day Transfer Portal will be busy

A-Day is great fun for Alabama fans, but it is only a spring snapshot and as Tide fans learned with Agiye Hall, the picture might be a bit fuzzy.